The Marsden Matting is a standardized, perforated steel matting material originally developed by the United States at the Waterways Experiment Station shortly before World War II, primarily for the rapid construction of temporary runways and landing strips. The material is also commonly known as Marston mats for a town in North Carolina adjacent to Camp Mackall airfield where the material was first manufactured and used in November 1941. The material was also used in the Korean and Vietnam Wars where its common name, from its NSN nomenclature, is pierced (or perforated) steel planking or PSP.
The Mark58 display bases
Mark58 display bases are made of a composite material resulting from the mixture of a coloured acrylic resin with mineral powder. It is not Polyurethane resin but it allows the same precision of moulding without the dangerosity of it. A sheet of glass-fibre mesh is embedded in the resin to give rigidity. Sometimes sand is also added in the mixture (to reproduce concrete for example) and in most cases it is not necessary to brush paint the bases. In fact one can achieve a very realistic finish with a simple wash. However, for those who don't want to bother with the painting of the bases, Mark58 also has painted bases in his catalogue.
The PSP bases
The 1/32 scale PSP base from Mark58 is about 28,5X28,5 cm in size and is cast in black resin. On my sample, Marc Toillié just added some sand so that the patterns of the Marsden plates are more visible. Other than that, there is no weathering. I also received a smaller extension (28,5X9 cm) which, once added to the square part, makes into a bigger rectangular 37X28,5 cm base. This is enough to display a P-47 or a jet such as the new F-80 from Czech Model for example.
The quality of the casting is excellent. There are no bubbles and the rendering of the PSP plates is very realistic. I shot a picture "at ground level" so you can see the uneveness of the surface.
I placed the only 1/32 scale Allied aircraft model I have in my collection (the P-51D from Dragon) on the Mark58 base and shoot some pictures for this review. This way, you can have a better idea of the size and the overall look of the display plate.
Mark58's new 1/32 scale display base is an impressive product. The price may appear a little high, but this resin casting is flawless and can be used to display a lot of different models for a photo shooting or for a model show. Once purchased, it sure won't end forgotten in a stash full of model kits but proudly on your display shelf! Highly recommended for 1/32 scale builders.
These 1/32 scale PSP bases are available from Mark58
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